nection substrate is exceeded and new technology (including design, materials, and manufacturing technology) must be introduced (Pfahl, 1992). Thus, unlike many other manufacturing industries in the secondary sector, the American electronics industry periodically goes through fundamental shifts in manufacturing technology.
At present, printed wiring board (PWB) technology is reaching its limits for certain applications, and many electronics companies are investigating multichip modules and other technology alternatives. These companies are motivated to practice DFE in this application, because about one-third of the cost of current PWB technology is associated with the waste that occurs in processing and manufacturing. However, they find technological solutions constrained by a myriad of local, state, and national regulations. In a command-and-control environment, regulations are designed for the existing industry and by-and-large assume static technology (indeed, by mandating certain control technologies, such regulations frequently freeze technological evolution). Unfortunately, however, in an industry that is changing rapidly and practicing DFE, regulations can serve to preclude major paradigm shifts in industrial ecology from a linear, Type I, system, which requires unlimited resources, to a recycling, Type II, system in which limited resources are used and limited wastes are produced (Allenby, 1992a; see also Richards et al., in this volume).
The following three experiences, drawn from an R&D manager's perspective in the American electronics industry, illustrate environmental issues being addressed today. From these experiences, industrial ecologists can draw conclusions about (1) the feasibility and benefits of widespread implementation of DFE; (2) today's command-and-control regulatory system, which in too many instances is hindering the establishment of proactive industrial programs; and (3) the challenges to be faced in developing public policy and regulations that will enable secondary industries with complex processes and products to change the current industrial ecology to one that is environmentally more sustainable.
Cost reduction is a major activity in most manufacturing firms. It is driven by establishing cost-reduction metrics for manufacturing engineers. Consider the case of a manufacturing engineer who sought to reduce the cost of painting sheet metal used in electronic equipment assemblies. He discovered that he could lower costs by having the sheet metal components chromated (plated with a chromium compound). Since many of the high-quality coating firms no longer provide chromate coatings, because of increased environmental regulation, the new chromate coatings were applied by a second-tier supplier. Potential quality failures were identified during accelerated reliability testing. The effort ended with the